Roots Covenant
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Roots Covenant

Band World Reggae


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Roots Covenant - Spiritual Music"

In a past life, I was a church-goer. Through a combination of aging and education, among other things, I slowly lost the desire and need to attend an organized evening of prayer and worship. At the same time, I came to miss the community and music of those evenings and up until last Sunday, did not know how to fill this void. My experience listening to Roots Covenant at Blind Melon’s changed my entire thinking of Sunday nights and worship. Your typical Sunday church focuses on the veneration of Christ; Sunday night at Blind Melon’s was a whole different type of communion.
Reggae as a music genre is one of many components that propelled the ideals of Rastafarians across the globe. Namesakes of this belief system include Bob Marley, Buju Banton, and Peter Tosh, three notable reggae, dancehall and/or raga musicians. While Roots Covenant draws from these artists as a source of influence (as was evidence with their cover of Marley’s “Soul Rebel), they do not pigeon-hole themselves into a particular sect or religion. Says Adrian “A.K.” Cisneros, their amazingly talented drummer/singer, “We’re not Catholic, we’re not Christians, we’re not Rastafarians.” What these guys are all about is a spirituality above labels. They list their influences not only from Jamaica, but also the ghettos of England with such artists as Aswad, Ariwa Posse, and Steel Pulse. (Phil Collins of Genesis was in there too, but mostly for his ability to sing and drum simultaneously.) With influences like these, it is no small wonder that the band’s set incorporated a mixture of the spiritual, with songs like “As A Witness” and “Jah Love” as well as the political, with the pro-legalization anthem of “I See Them Come.”
The night was not without its secular moments, as heard in the songs “Amor” and “Your Recipe.” Whatever musical material Roots Covenant chose to play, they played it tight and clean. Joining A.K. were bassist/vocalist Danny Tornero; guitarist/vocalist, Armando Lopez; trumpet player, Steve Baley; keyboardist, Tim Little; and saxophonist, Marco Paul. The band played as a seamless unit throughout its entire set and each player received a moment to shine in at least one of the songs. While the band, at times, felt on the brink of falling apart melodically, A.K. and Tornero held a solid rhythmic foundation. This is what reggae is all about, after all: loose at the seams, but the whole remains intact.
Easily the best part of Covenant’s performance was the opening numbers. The audience was introduced to the band as they warmed up with a dancehall instrumental, which was followed by a shift to the Latin influence of “Cambia.” “As A Witness,” another dancehall piece, completed the opening trinity, which was performed flawlessly by the entire band. This song, which was my favorite of the evening, featured A.K. who not only drummed ridiculous beats, but sang as well with a vocal quality reminiscent of Stephen Marley (one of the ten Marley children). The rest of the set provided a night of relaxed and true reggae.
The only downfall of reggae is that it can come feel too repetitive. With the band providing an amalgamation of songs, each with its roots in the reggae tradition, there was never a feeling of stagnation. All in all, it was a phenomenal show and I look forward to hearing these guys again soon.

- Jessica Read


2007 "Roots Covenant"
"Fighting for Color" w/Sammy Dread (Work in Progress)
"This Light of Mine" w/King Mondo (Work in Progress)
"Studio 47 Presents" w/Various Artists (Work in Progress)



Roots Covenant originally formed in 2001 as a group of San Diego teenagers who would meet to simply share their love for underground collectable reggae records. Since then they have used their passion for true reggae music to feed their drive and create unique soulful rhythms of their own.

Its six members offer an intense musical sensation by soulfully playing their instruments (Guitar, Keyboard, Drums, Bass, Trumpet, Saxaphone). Each member contributes uniquely through their instruments, differentiating them from other amateur reggae bands. For example, Bassist Danny Dread has created an extremely exceptional style by combining his own rhythmic vibes with those techniques that Santana himself has personally handed down to his family.

This rhythmic connection the band shares with their instruments has allowed them to be invited to back such artists as Triston Palma, Ken Bob, Tippa Lee ad Andrew Wright. They have performed for thousands all around Southern California and have opened for Sister Nancy, Triston Palma, Pato Banton, Eek-A-Mouse, Half Pint and many more. Currently, the band is touring with international reggae legend, Sammy Dread. Together they have created an unstoppable, breath taking show that will be taken around the world

The powerful and moving words their music evokes embrace themes of love, unity, truth, war and justice. Through their captivating sounds and irie vibes Roots Covenant have now gained recognition as a local premier reggae band in Southern California.

In 2007, Roots Covenant have satisfied the requests of their 2000+ fan-base by releasing their self –titled debut album. In less than three months they have sold an astonishing 1000 albums, a flattering amount considering its self-promotion and distribution. The album marks only a first step on a journey with a promise of more in the future.

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